As a growing Believer it took a long time for me to understand what it really meant that I was “dead to sin” and “alive to Christ.” I liked the words because they sounded impressive and promising, but I had no idea why they were important. I’m not sure at what point I really understood this, but I remember the wow-moment I had when I did. To keep it simple, you are free. But, that’s a little too simple so let me explain.
In Romans 7:1-6, I believe that Paul is showing us Three Reasons Why The Spirit Is Superior To The Law
Before we get to those reasons, lets dig into the text a little…
I. Good News! You’re sort-of no longer living!
7:1, “Do you not know, brothers and sisters —for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives” NIV
I know you’re breathing and probably feeling just fine right now, but the good news that this passage reveals is that you’re actually dead!!! (I know it doesn’t sound like good news at first glance.)
Paul’s trying to communicate that a spiritual union took place when we chose to believe in Jesus – our faith in Jesus means that we share the penalty of the cross with Him (spiritually speaking). Because we died alongside Jesus on the cross (spiritually speaking), we are just as dead to the Law as Jesus is. So, you’re sort-of no longer living.
That’s good news because the Law (e.g. The 10 Commandments) can only condemn the living. Because you’re no longer living (sort-of) the Law can’t tell you that you’re not qualified to spend eternity with Jesus.
Because you’re sort-of dead, you’re no longer being condemned.
II. Bad News! While you were alive you were actually sort-of dead
7:2, “For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him.” NIV
I know this is a bit of mental gymnastics for you, but Paul keeps pushing this spiritual union thought to help us understand the problem that no longer exists for us.
Before we chose to believe in Jesus we were under the authority of the Law (e.g. the 10 Commandments). Unfortunately, we have a sinful nature (the part of us that compels us to desire and pursue what’s forbidden to us). While we are alive we will only be condemned because our sinful nature makes it impossible for us to perfectly keep the Law.
That’s bad news because if we can’t keep the Law we are disqualified from eternity.
Because you’re sort-of no longer living, you’re no longer compelled to pursue the forbidden.
III. New News! You’re under a New kind of Law!
7:6, “But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” NIV
I’m not sure how you feel about being given a new Law, but this Law is a really great Law for us. Paul’s revealing that Believers now have a new kind of life to live. Believes are led by the Holy Spirit (dynamic and personal) instead of by a list of rules (static and impersonal).
You now live life with the Spirit, all the time. The Spirit isn’t looking for ways to condemn you, He’s looking for ways to more deeply connect you to your fellowship with Jesus.
Here Are Three Reasons Why The Spirit Is Superior To The Law
1. You’re released!
You have been released from the authority of a written code, so now your passion to do something forbidden no longer has power over you.
2. You can’t be condemned!
You are released from being judged by the Law because you (spiritually speaking) died with Jesus and rose with him through your faith in Him.
3. You’re being mentored
You now get to live as a friend of God because you have the Holy Spirit as a mentor rather than a list of rules.
Paul has not yet clearly defined the Spirit led life in Romans (at least, not that I can remember). So, here’s a hint. Romans 8:4 (we’ll get there soon) shows us that the Law of the Spirit is about yielding to the ministry of the Spirit as a mentor who personally shapes us.
As a Believer, the Holy Spirt is your mentor. As you continue to grow in your expression of loving God and loving others the Spirit will continue to shape you and help you excel.
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